Sunday, October 19, 2008

Learning through Projects

The "New Technology High School" video made the biggest impact on me this week.  Watching students learn through project-based themes renewed my faith in innovation!  Actually, project-based learning isn't a NEW way of learning - it's just a better way that takes a lot of teacher planning, connection strategies, and a commitment to engage and meet each student at their level of academic performance.  I especially liked the way the projects were designed to be student driven.  The students ask the questions and the teachers provide the guidance and support (ie. optional workshops on tech issues).  This helped keep the students engaged and responsible for their learning.  The presentation of the projects provide students with feedback (questions) from a panel which expand their critical thinking skills.  They are not memorizing information - but collaborating together to create a collection of independent and group thinking, analysis, and evaluation.  The students are also engaged in extra curricular activities including clubs, dances, sports, music.  This high school has created a "community of trust" in which students are responsible for their own learning.  This type of community fosters emotional intelligence and self-awareness in a safe environment designed to challenge students for 21st century learning!  Way to go!

I also finished Professor Wesch's lecture and viewed a couple of his other lectures on YouTube.  WOW!  I can't even wrap my mind around the future of our world.  I am reminded of the first Star Wars movie where Yoda holds a meeting with the Jedi council in which members were seen and heard in hologram form.  I remember thinking how cool that was - impossible - but cool!  It is a little unsettling to think about holding group meetings (classes, etc.) as "holograms!"

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